Tag Archives: harriet harman

Tim Farron writes to Harriet Harman asking her to oppose Welfare Bill

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has written to Labour’s interim leader Harriet Harman to ask her to ensure that her party opposes the Government’s Welfare Bill.

Here is the text of his letter:

Dear Harriet
The Conservative Government last night brought forward plans for £12bn of cuts to welfare that will directly impact millions of people across the country including the poorest families in our constituencies.

The Conservatives do not need to make these cuts, especially at the same time as giving tax breaks to millionaires.

The people who will be hit by these changes need someone to give them a voice in Parliament and fight their corner, and last night Labour failed to stand up for them.

You have said that you do not want to oppose absolutely every saving that the Government suggests, but these cuts will hurt the poorest in our communities.

Cuts to employment support allowance, lowering the benefit cap and slashing tax credits for those in low paid work are not policies that any progressive should support.

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LBC Women’s Debate: Lynne Featherstone gets Harriet Harman to admit she’s “happy” with Rachel Reeves’ plans to be tougher than Tories on benefits claimants

Last night’s 90 minute LBC women’s debate was, on the whole, well-mannered, informative and a billion times better than anything Michael Fallon had had to say.

Lynne Featherstone was our representative,  Nicky Morgan represented the Tories, Diane James UKIP and Harriet Harman was there for Labour.

I liked the 5 minute “Ask me Anything” segments where each candidate had to ask questions of the others. If I’m going to criticise, some of the questions were too long. If you are going to ask an awkward question, make it brief and make your opponent squirm for longer. Harriet Harman did keep her question brief, though – she asked Lynne which thing that Labour did in government did she like most and which thing she’d voted for in the Coalition had made her feel most uncomfortable. Lynne praised Labour’s Equality Act and said the Bedroom Tax was the most difficult thing. She did remind Harriet that it was Labour who had introduced the principle into the benefit system. She added that Liberal Democrats had had to hold their nose and vote for things that they didn’t like, but we’d always made them better than they would have been.

When the tables were reversed, Lynne asked Harriet whether she agreed with Rachel Reeves’ comments  that Labour would be tougher than the Tories on benefits claimants. Iain Dale emphasised Lynne’s point by saying to Harman that she must have winced at that. But when reminded of Reeves’ comments, she said

If that’s what she said, I’m happy to go along with that. She’s absolutely excellent and she sees things as I do.

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PMQs: Nick Clegg comes back from Cornwall

clegg on leveson 2I stopped doing PMQ write-ups some time ago. They were getting so repetitive and mind-numbingly pointless that I was losing the will to live.

Today’s exchange between Nick Clegg and Harriet Harman was typical of the genre. Harriet Harman made some very good prepared points, and Nick Clegg blasted away on Labour’s record and mentioned some good bits from this government’s record. There was a lot huing and crying and then everyone went to lunch.

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Nick Clegg at PMQs, with added Elvis

Clegg_PMQsNick was standing in for David Cameron, who was visiting Israel, at Prime Minister’s Questions today. The half hour was, of course, punctuated with the usual pantomime and point-scoring, but it seemed a lot more relaxed and good humoured than it usually is. Cameron acts sometimes like the event is beneath him. Nick just took all the jibes, responded with a fair bit of patience and humour and even seemed amused by some of them. The Labour spin doctors must have been up all night thinking of Elvis puns after we were beaten by the Bus Pass Elvis party in a council by-election in Clifton in Nottingham last week. The best they could manage was “You ain’t nothing but a lap dog.” You could see Nick trying not to laugh but he didn’t quite manage it as he responded:

At least we are not the lapdog of the bankers, which is what Labour was in office. At least we did not crash the British economy. At least we did not cost every household £3,000. At least we did not preside over an increase in relative poverty. At least we did not preside over an increase in youth unemployment. We are creating the stronger economy and fairer society that the Labour party failed to create.

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Danny Alexander introduces Ginger Rodent beer to the Commons bar

If there is one issue that could unite Social Liberal Forum co-chair Gareth Epps and Danny Alexander, it’s beer. Gareth is a huge supporter of the Fair Deal for your local campaign, as any self-respecting CAMRA member should be. Danny is also a huge supporter of the micro breweries in his constituency. I spent a very pleasant evening sampling Loch Ness Brewery’s wares with his staff last Summer and hope to do the same next month.

It was the Cairngorm Brewery, though, who responded to Harriet Harman’s insult of Danny Alexander by producing a Ginger Rodent beer.

Tonight, that …

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Nick Clegg: “Let Leveson speak”

The Leveson Report on the culture, practice and ethics of the press will be published today at 1:30pm.

Speaking to the BBC this morning Nick Clegg said,

I think we should leave Lord Leveson to speak for himself. But my views on this subject are well known.

I believe in a vigorous free press that holds the powerful to account and isn’t subject to political interference. But a free press does not and cannot mean a press that is free to bully innocent people, or free to abuse grieving families.

I hope when Lord Justice Leveson gives his full statement later today, we will

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Nick’s second ‘Letter from the Leader’: featuring PMQs, Leveson Inquiry & tax-cuts for the low-paid

Nick Clegg’s second letter to members and supporters has hit my inbox… This week’s email focuses on two issues. First, the impending Leveson Report into what form of media (self-)regulation will be needed to ensure newspapers don’t continue to abuse their power in the way that was exposed so forensically during Sir Brian’s inquiry. And secondly, on re-inforcing the Lib Dems’ number one achievement from the Coalition: raising the income tax threshold so that millions of the lowest paid in society have more money in their pockets.

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    @Adam Cain Quite correct. The point I was making was about giving the electorate an aspirational message to be able to better for themselves. On...
  • User AvatarMike S 8th Dec - 1:47am
    Katharine (Hi) I was specifically responding to Tim's question re Little Jackie Paper's post including the graphic - "UK regions poorest in Europe" - see...
  • User AvatarTynan 8th Dec - 1:20am
    boarders?
  • User AvatarTynan 8th Dec - 1:19am
    Arnold; Many people might think that telling the British people what they must or must not do is not the way forward if you want...
  • User AvatarKatharine Pindar 8th Dec - 1:10am
    Mike S. (hi!) I can't believe that that extraordinarily narrow view of what the EU had to offer Britons was the major prompt in voting...
  • User AvatarTynan 8th Dec - 12:52am
    Tim; I did-: As I have asked in a few threads, all through the different treaties, and whatever your belief, or political opinion, when exactly...